How exciting to discover yet another new book in Cree this weekend: a new volume of star and constellation stories by traditional astronomer Wilfred Buck. The book is subtitled, “Tellings that Fill the Night Sky,” and is beautifully illustrated by Mistawasis Buck, Wilfred’s youngest son.
As Wilfred writes:
The stars of the Big Dipper are the focus of all these Tellings. In my research I have come across multiple Tellings pertaining to these stars. We hear of Mista Muskwa (Great Bear), Mikisiw Mikwun Atik (Eagle Staff), Mistatim (Horse) and Ocik (Fisher). Unlike Ursa Major where the Great bear is the Great Bear and nothing else, Indigenous Star Knowledge Keepers see many truths, thus many Tellings about the same group of stars.
Five of the twenty stories are translated into ininîmowin (Swampy, or n-dialect spoken in Wilfred’s home community of Opaskwayak). The stories were transcribed by Cam Robertson of Norway House in roman and in syllabics (though they don’t use standard spelling). In addition to the books alone, Wilfred also has a limited number of sets including the book along with a complete set of 11×7 enlargements of the gorgeous illustrations that would be beautiful for classroom use.
- Visit Wilfred’s website: https://acakwuskwun.com/,
- Or Email: Send Wilfred a note directly at Wilfred.Buck<at>outlook.com.
Special thanks to Simon Bird, visiting Winnipeg for the MFNERC Lighting the Fire Conference, for inviting me to tag along when he met Wilfred at the Forks.